Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Embroidery is most often used on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, stockings, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available with a wide variety of thread or yarn color. During embroidery many embroidery defects occur in fabric. Some are Bunching at corners, Missed trims, Poor hooping, Poor stitch balance etc.
Embroidery Defects, Causes and Remedies:
Bunching at corners – Where the corners of lettering or shapes are not sharp and crisp but are bunched up or distorted. Usually this is caused by too much thread in the corners due to poor digitizing. This includes not using appropriate stitch selection, not using “Short” stitches in corner, and poor stitch balance i.e. thread too loose. It can be corrected by digitizing properly by using appropriate stitch selection, and “short” stitch cornering, and correcting stitch balance.
Embroidery too thick – Too thick and uncomfortable embroidery can be caused by too high stitch density or not using the correct backing for the application. It can be corrected by digitizing properly by using appropriate stitch selection, using fewer stitches, and using “short” stitches on corners, balancing the stitch, using smaller thread size and the correct backing (correct type and weight).
Fabric damage (needle holes) – Fabric is damages around the corners of the embroidery, normally caused by not using the correct type and size of needle, putting too many stitches in the same location, and not tearing tear away backing properly, allowing the fabric to be damaged as the stitches are pulled out. This can be corrected by digitizing properly, reducing the stitch count in the corners, using the correct type and size of needle and a ball point needle as small as possible.
Fabric grin through or gaping – Fabric being seen through the embroidery design either in the middle of the pattern or on the edge can be corrected by digitizing properly (using appropriate underlay stitches, increasing stitch density, using different fill stitch pattern or direction, or compensating for “Pull” of thread by overlapping fill and satin border stitches), and using appropriate topping.
Missed trims – The threads are left on the embroidery pattern between images or lettering. Thread trims are digitized when changing colours and when moving from one location to other using “jump” stitches. This can be corrected by digitizing properly (using appropriate number of trims, appropriate tie-off stitches, or replacing trimming knives when necessary) and hand trimming missed trims using trimming snips.
Poor coverage – Poor coverage or poor stitch density is where the stitch density is not thick enough and one can see through the embroidery stitching. This can be corrected by digitizing properly (using appropriate stitch selection, more stitches, and underlay stitches) and using appropriate backing and topping.
Poor hooping – The fabric around the embroidery looks distorted and does not lay flat. It can be corrected by using appropriate backing and topping, making sure sewing operators hoop the garment properly without stretching the fabric too much prior to putting it in the hoop, and pressing or steaming hoop marks.
Poor registration – Poor registration is where the stitches and design elements do not line up correctly. The embroidery sewing process sews different colours at different times. If the fabric shifts while one colour is being sewn, then poor registration will occur when the next colour is sewn. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between poor registration, poor digitizing, and fabric “grin-through” or “gapping” due to thread “pull”. Generally can be corrected by: Digitizing properly (using appropriate underlay stitches) and Hooping properly (using correct backing to prevent excessive material flagging).
Poor stitch balance – This is where white bobbin thread shows on the topside of the embroidery. Ideally, the needle thread should be held on the underside of the seam, and not ever be pulled up to the topside. Proper stitch balance can be checked on the underneath or backing side of the embroidery by looking for 2/3 needle thread to 1/ 3 bobbin thread on Satin stitches. This can be corrected by using quality embroidery needle thread, quality pre-wound bobbins and setting machine thread tensions correctly.